When it comes to protecting our land, stringent state and local regulations keep Colorado healthy while ensuring we can still responsibly access our state’s vast energy resources.
Put simply, Colorado’s oil and natural gas regulations are among the toughest in the country.
Our state’s strong regulations, enforced by independent regulatory agencies such as the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), guarantee Colorado is not only putting the health and safety of our people first, but sets some of the highest standards for fracking across the country. These regulations include groundwater testing and monitoring, setbacks from buildings, installing noise barriers during drilling operations, and re-routing or reducing truck traffic away from communities. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also administers a comprehensive program to monitor air quality and emissions.
In 2014, Colorado approved the first methane regulations in the nation, requiring energy companies to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations. The regulations were “more protective” than what the EPA announced according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
And, according to the Denver Business Journal, “field surveys by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) of oil and gas equipment found a 75 percent drop in the number of sites where methane leaks were detected compared to similar surveys prior to the regulations.” Asked how well the regulations were working, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said “Colorado’s rules are working extremely well.”
Colorado Leads Emissions Regulation
In 2019, Former Governor John Hickenlooper said, “We brought environmentalists and oil and gas companies to the table to create the toughest emissions laws in the country.” These regulations continue to help move Colorado’s energy future forward by promoting responsible energy production. In fact, recent innovations and strict regulations mean that Colorado saw fewer poor air quality days in 2018 than at any other time in the past 40 years – all while oil and natural gas production in the state increased by a magnitude of 10.
Here are some of the other ways Colorado is reducing emissions:
- Use of electric-powered drilling rigs instead of diesel-powered rigs and solar powered well-heads.
- Innovative closed-loop systems that are airtight and designed to reduce emissions.
- Constantly performing Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) inspections using infrared cameras that detect emissions invisible to the human eye. Since 2014, the industry has carried out nearly 1.5 million of these inspections.
According to the EPA, “methane emissions in the United States decreased by 15.8 percent between 1990 and 2017.” Their findings showed that in this span, while emissions have increased from sources associated with agriculture, emissions have decreased from natural gas.
Methane emissions have been on the decline in our country for years, and our regulations here in Colorado are helping reduce them even more.